During peach season, you’ll always find a bag of these beauties in my fridge. Juicy, firm and naturally sweet, I just adore their flavour and texture and every year I wish I’d made more recipes with peaches and then they’re gone. Well, I had this recipe lined up long before these fuzzy little fruits showed up and when they did I couldn’t wait to bring it to life.

A slice of Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart on a white plate with gold rim, a fork resting on the side

Why you’ll love this Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart

It’s elegant, it’s delicate and while there are a few layers, each one is simple. The fresh peach flavour is definitely the hero in this melt in the mouth dessert.

DIFFICULTY – There are steps, yes, but each one is simple to do. This tart only takes around 35 minutes of active time but there is baking and setting time as well.

MAKE AHEAD – This is best made the day before serving or the morning for serving in the evening.

STORAGE – Store on it’s cake plate, covered in plastic wrap. This tart is best eaten within 2-3 days.

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

I was dreaming of creating another beautiful tart that, like my Pistachio Rose Panna Cotta Tart, felt special and luxurious and made the most of one divine flavour. This is my new favourite. This recipe really makes a true hero of fresh peaches.

Slices of fresh peach sit atop a light, creamy cream cheese panna cotta. I say light purely in the textural sense. This panna cotta takes nothing away from the peaches but just adds a lovely, melt in the mouth base that totally complements them.

3 slices of Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart on white plates

What is panna cotta?

Panna Cotta is one of my favourite easy desserts and I love how delicate it is. It’s a super simple mixture of milk, cream, sugar, gelatine and sugar. It’s essentially a milk jelly and ok, that sounds strange but it’s incredibly light, soft and melts away in your mouth. When I first discovered it, I wanted to keep making it over and over. The first one to make this blog was this Vanilla Panna Cotta with Orange Syrup but since then I’ve made so many iterations. From Vanilla Chai Panna Cotta to Strawberry Panna Cotta and this tangy Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Jelly.

It works in dessert glasses, or turned out as a delicate wobbly dessert but for this version, I added a little cream cheese and turned it into a set layer within the tart. Cream cheese panna cotta, it turns out, is just as lovely as the normal cream version. It doesn’t taste like cheesecake but there is faint hint of cheesecake somewhere in the background. A little like the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, it just adds a nice tang.

A whole tart decorated with fresh peach slices arranged in concentric circles

The peach layer

The peach layer is actually two parts – slices of fresh peach, not even peeled arranged in a pretty design and a homemade peach jelly / jello. The jelly is easy to make too. Just a simple syrup infused with fresh peaches on the stove. Strain the syrup and add gelatine, then pour it gently over the top of your tart to seal everything together.

How to make peach tart

With layered desserts like this, many will pass them by thinking they must take hours of work to bring together. There is certainly some steps involved but each is quick and very simple. The total active time for this recipe is around 35 minutes and I think that is 35 minutes totally worth spending for something this gorgeous. It is best made a day ahead as there is non-active time for baking the shell and setting etc.

2 photos: tart dough in a food processor, tart dough shaped in a tart pan

Start by placing the pastry ingredients into the food processor, and blitz. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 1/2 an hour, then roll out and lay it into your tart tin. Trim the edges to about 1cm above the tart tin rim. Then place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Docking tart dough with a fork

Dock the base with a fork (just poke holes all over the base) and bake for 20 minutes.

2 photos: preparing tart dough for bakingCloseup of a tart shell in a tart pan

Once baked, brush the inside with a beaten egg white. This step helps to seal the base so don’t skip it – it means our liquid won’t run out of the tart shell when we add it. Next, lay a sharp knife flat to the rim of the tin and with quick strokes, cut the overhanging pastry off all the way round. Bake for another 20 minutes. Once the tart case is baked, place it straight in the freezer for 15 minutes. This step is another way to make sure our liquid filling sets quickly and does not escape.

2 photos: making the cream cheese filling

To make the panna cotta, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until it looks smooth and creamy (just a minute or 2 with handheld beater). Dribble in a little milk and beat it until well combined. Now on the stove, heat some milk and gelatine until dissolved. This takes just a couple of minutes and doesn’t even need to come to a simmer.

2 photos: adding cream cheese filling to the baked tart shell

Pour enough of the filling into the tart shell to cover the base then freeze it again for 15 minutes. Once more, we just want that filling to set nice and quick so that it doesn’t either escape or soak through the crisp pastry. Then, pour the remaining panna cotta in and sit it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

2 photos: arranging peach slices on top of the filling

Slice fresh peaches thinly and arrange in a circular pattern on top of the set panna cotta. Overlap each slice as you go.

2 photos: making peach jelly from fresh peaches

Now make that gorgeous peach jelly topping. Just stew together some fresh peaches, sugar, a little ginger and water. Simmer it for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and just let it sit so the flavours can infuse for 1/2 an hour. Strain away the solids, then add some gelatine dissolved in boiling water and stir well.

Popping bubbles in the jelly with a toothpick

Spoon it over the top of your peaches, then use a toothpick to pop any bubbles. Place the tart back in the fridge to set. Done. Yes there are a few steps but look at this beauty.

To serve, use a very sharp knife and use a sawing motion to carefully cut through the peach layer. Once you’re through that layer, cut straight down through the rest.

SHORTCUTS

While this tart is perfect as it is and I wouldn’t want you to change a thing, I understand you may want to simplify or make it out of season. Any changes will change the intended flavour of the recipe though.

  • You could certainly buy a pre-made tart shell, if you wanted to skip a step.
  • If you want to make this out of season, you could use tinned peaches but drain them on paper towel first.

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A Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart on a white board, a slice is missing, another slice on a cake server

If you want a truly impressive dessert and a delicious tribute to ripe Summer peaches, this Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart is definitely a must make.

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This Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart is delicate layers of cream cheese panna cotta, fresh peach slices and homemade peach jelly In a perfect tart shell.

Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart

5 from 4 votes
This Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart is delicate layers of cream cheese panna cotta, fresh peach slices and homemade peach jelly In a perfect tart shell.

Ingredients

FOR THE TART SHELL

  • 163 g (1+1/4 cups / 6oz) plain (AP) flour
  • 85 g (3oz) almond meal (almond flour)
  • 1/3  cup  icing (Confectioners / powdered) sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 113  (1 stick / 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 - 2  tablespoons  20-30ml ice water (notes)
  • egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE PANNA COTTA

  • 1 1/2  cups whole milk
  • teaspoons  powdered gelatine
  • tablespoons  caster sugar  (notes)
  • 125 g cream cheese
  • pinch  of salt

FOR THE PEACH LAYER

  • cup  water
  • 1/3 cup  sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 peaches roughly sliced
  • teaspoon  powdered gelatine
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water (notes)
  • 2.5 - 3 peaches, halved and thinly sliced

Instructions
 

FOR THE TART SHELL

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line the base of a 8 inch round fluted tart tin with baking paper.
  • Add the almond meal, flour, sugar and salt to a food processor and blitz until well combined. Add the butter and blitz for only 15-20 seconds until the mixture is like large breadcrumbs. Slowly drizzle in the water while the processor is running on low and stop as soon as it starts forming large clumps.
  • Pull together into a disk, wrap in baking paper or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.
  • Dust a large sheet of baking paper with flour, sit the dough on top and dust the top with flour. Roll it out to a large circle about 3mm thick.
  • Rest your whole arm underneath the pastry and baking paper to lift it. With the other hand hold the tin and base together with one finger and thumb and tip it upside down over the pastry as you flip the pastry towards it, then flip it back up the right way. Carefully pull away the baking paper, then nudge the pastry down into the corners. Trim the overhang with a pair of kitchen scissors to just 1 cm above the lip of the tin and make the dough sit up straight. Freeze for 15 minutes
  • Prick the base all over with a fork, then line with baking paper and baking weights. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove the baking paper with baking weights. Use a sharp knife, laid flat to the top edge of the tin, to cut away the excess pastry. Brush the inside of the tart shell all over with beaten egg white. Bake for a further 20 minutes. Any hairline cracks are fine.
  • As soon as the tin is cool enough to handle, place the shell in the freezer until cold - this will help the panna cotta set more quickly and reduce the risk of leaking or soaking into the base anywhere.

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE PANNA COTTA

  • Pour half of the cold milk into a saucepan and sprinkle over the gelatine and leave so the gelatine can soften.
  • In a bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar with a handheld beater until smooth, then slowly dribble in the remaining milk a little at a time while still beating on low until you have what looks like thin cream.
  • After about 5 minutes, the gelatine should be looking all wrinkly on top of the milk in the saucepan. Turn the heat on underneath on low and stir until the gelatine has dissolved (only a couple of minutes, you don't even need to simmer).
  • Add it to the cream cheese mixture. Mix to combine, then strain it all back into the saucepan. Pour about 1/2 cup over the base then place in freezer to set for 15 minutes (this is to get a quick set layer to totally seal the base). Add remaining panna cotta to the base and place in fridge for about 2 hours.

FOR THE PEACH LAYER

  • Place the water, sugar, ginger and roughly chopped peaches into a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring it to a simmer for 5 minutes then turn the heat off. Use the spoon to press down on and break up the peaches a little, then leave it to sit for 1/2 an hour to infuse. Now strain the mixture, discarding the peaches.
  • Mix the boiling water and gelatine together until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Pour it into the peach syrup and stir well.
  • Carefully arrange the peach slices over the panna cotta. Now slowly pour the jelly over the top making sure it gets into all the cracks.
  • Return to the fridge and allow to set for at least an hour before serving (notes)

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. As this is a delicate tart, use a sharp knife (NOT serrated) and use a sawing motion with only light pressure to cut through the peach layer. From there you can cut straight down through the other layers.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

FOR MORE PANNA COTTA RECIPES, CLICK HERE

FOR MORE PEACH RECIPES, CLICK HERE

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Closeup of a slice of Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart showing the distinct layers